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Article
October 1948

ROLE OF ANTIBIOTICS IN MASKING INFLAMMATORY PROCESSES

Author Affiliations

MADISON, WIS.
From the Department of Surgery, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, Wis.

Arch Surg. 1948;57(4):513-519. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1948.01240020520008
Abstract

ANTIBIOTICS unquestionably have played a major role in the brilliant surgical advances of the past decade. Extensive radical surgical treatment hitherto associated with a grave prognosis because of complicating infections is now performed in all large general hospitals because of the availability of these chemotherapeutic agents. It is also common knowledge that many infections, such as carbuncle, empyema, mediastinal abscess, acute cholecystitis and actinomycosis, respond so favorably to these drugs that in many instances surgical intervention is unnecessary.

Unfortunately, these dramatic and often awe-inspiring results have projected into the minds of many physicians a false sense of value regarding the powers of these drugs. Physicians employing these drugs as panaceas without due regard to surgical principles often are lulled into a feeling of security, and as a result of prolonged or injudicious use cause either masking of the true clinical picture or irreversible pathologic changes.

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